Back-seat occupant foils would-be car theft, Kearny cops say

A man tried to steal a vehicle left by the driver with the motor running but apparently didn’t realize that someone else was in the car at the time, police said.

Police said the episode unfolded in the early morning hours of Aug. 2 as a Harrison female was driving around town delivering newspapers.

At around 3:15 a.m., police said the young woman double-parked her vehicle along a section of Hamilton Ave. and exited, carrying some newspapers, while leaving the ignition on.

Meanwhile, police said, another vehicle pulled up nearby with two men inside. One of the men got out and jumped into the front of the double-parked car, apparently intending to steal the car, according to police.

But sitting in the rear seat was the young woman’s father, who was occupied folding bunches of newspapers, police said. As soon as he saw the stranger at the wheel, police said the father reached over the seat and began struggling with the intruder.

As this was happening, police said Officer Christian Medina, who was patrolling the area, spotted the two vehicles while looking north up Hamilton and began approaching the location.

By that time, police said the intruder had apparently given up trying to take the vehicle and fled to the waiting car which then sped away.

However, police said Medina was able to get a partial description of the vehicle as white or light-color, possibly a Honda, with New Jersey registration and broadcast an alert to police in surrounding communities.

Police said that detectives are working with the state Div. of Motor Vehicles to try and match up the plate letters and numbers to the vehicle’s make and model to get a trace on the vehicle and possibly its occupants, described as two young black males.

Police Chief John Dowie said that the town has periodically been hit by waves of motor vehicle burglaries and thefts.

“We, like other towns in the area, got hammered last year,” he said, noting that GPS units, in particular, and other electronics devices, are targeted by thieves. He cautioned the driving public to avoid leaving valuables in open view inside their vehicles and to always lock their cars.

Here’s a sample of other incidents logged by police during the past week:

Aug. 2

At 5:30 p.m., following up on a tip from an out-of-town investigative unit, members of the P.D.’s Vice Squad converged at Midland and Kearny Aves. to confront an individual, who had reportedly been involved in a recent drug transaction in Newark, and who had just returned to Kearny, to quiz him about that activity. In response, police said, William Hancock, 60, of Kearny, turned over three glassine envelopes containing suspected heroin labeled “Miami Heat” and “OKC.” Hancock was charged with possession of heroin and drug paraphernalia.

At 3 p.m. vice detectives confronted Scott McCurley, 31, of Kearny, in the 600 block of Belgrove Drive about recent suspected narcotics activity and, in searching him, found 35 glassine bags labeled “Best Buy,” 10 bags with the brand name “Show Me the Money,” and three bags with the label “Guerilla,” all containing heroin; and one glass vial containing a substance believed to be cocaine. He was charged with possession of heroin and cocaine with intent to distribute and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Aug. 1

After watching a hand-to-hand exchange between a driver and a female passerby in a parking lot at Duke St. and Kearny Ave. at 9 p.m., police approached and confronted both individuals. Police said the driver, Luis Matos, 21, of Kearny, had a $20 bill and, a large plastic bag wedged between his legs. Inside that bag, police said, were several smaller bags containing suspected marijuana. Police said Matos handed over two additional bags, also believed to contain marijuana. He was charged with possession of drugs with intent to distribute within 1,000 feet of a school and within 500 feet of a park. Police said Matos’ apparent customer, Caitlin Gil, 20, of Bloomfield, had two bags of suspected marijuana and she was charged with possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia.

July 31

Carlos Guzman, 28, of Kearny, was arrested at Duke St. and Kearny Ave. at 5:30 p.m. after police said he was confronted by vice detectives and turned over a Ziploc bag with suspected marijuana and two cigars typically used to package marijuana. He was charged with possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia.

At 4:30 a.m. police arrested a 17-year-old Kearny male who was found sitting in the driver’s seat of a 2001 Chevrolet double-parked at Devon and Hoyt Sts. and who was found to have a strong odor of alcohol and slurred speech. Police said the teen admitted to having consumed “a few beers” earlier. Police noted that a nearby parked car had been sideswiped. The teen was arrested on charges of DWI, underage DWI and careless driving.

July 30

At 11 p.m. Jamal Shelly, 29, of Kearny, was stopped in his vehicle at Forest and King Sts. and charged with driving while suspended.

Freddy Thomas, 27, of Kearny, was busted by vice detectives at 4:10 p.m. at Devon and Duke Sts. after a search uncovered a black bag containing 59.5 grams of suspected marijuana. Police said Thomas was arrested on an outstanding warrant from Newark and was charged with possession of in excess of 50 grams of marijuana with intent to distribute within 1,000 feet of a school and within 500 feet of a park. He was taken to Hudson County Jail, Kearny, on $10,000 bail with a 10% cash option.

July 27

Police stopped Steve Nash, 49, of Kearny, at 10:30 a.m. at Kearny and Linden Aves. on a charge of driving while suspended and placed him under arrest for an outstanding warrant for $4,000 from Brick Township. He was released after posting $1,000 bail, police said.

– Ron Leir


The Observer Staff